Grand Rapids Press: IMAX movies, Morse, renew faith in film

- November 11, 2001

IMAX movies, Morse, renew faith in film

by John Douglas, The Grand Rapids Press

When I go to the movies, I sometimes get depressed over how poorly my favorite art and entertainment form is being used.  Some of the things that pass for movies these days are embarrassing.

But there are good things going on in movies, too, and I was overwhelmed by them this week.

I saw all three IMAX films that will open on Friday and a new DVD on sale this week by GVSU professor Deanna Morse, which includes 36 of her short films.  These works renewed my faith there are people working in this business who are presenting creative, entertaining and informative productions.

I find it ironic that IMAX is on a large-format film projected on a gigantic screen, while Morse’s work is on one of those scrawny DVDs presented on a television screen.  Still, the IMAX and the DVD, as different as they are, offer a lot to those who are part of an audience for either.

The three films I saw on IMAX were “Everest,” “Cosmic Voyage,” and “Africa’s Elephant Kingdom,” and all three are magnificent presentations.  For my money, they are the next best thing to being in Africa and actually seeing the elephant, climbing Everest and taking a trip light years into space.

Actually the IMAX movies might be a better experience, because few people get as up close and personal with an elephant in its natural habitat as you can through this film.

The IMAX Films also served to remind me of the wondrous universe our world is part of and the wondrous world we are part of.  They reminded me of the possibilities of human life and the mysteries left to explore.  The elephants offer no fewer mysteries than the cosmos, and the existence of Everest is made possible by colossal forces that we are only beginning to understand.  And yet we squander our time on Earth with squabbles and unimportant activities that lead us nowhere.

I am proud to be part of an art and entertainment form that caused me to contemplate such things.  But I am not prouder of that than I am of “MOVE-CLICK-MOVE,” the DVD collection of Morse’s works.  Morse teaches in the School of Communications at GVSU.

Morse, over the years, has explored the nature of film in a very quiet way, especially compared to IMAX theater presentations.  Morse labors for long periods of time over her very short films and she discovers new directions in which the medium can be taken to both inform, and/or entertain.  With almost every production, Morse is contributing something interesting to the art of the moving picture.  She is expanding the art of film and the perceptions of the viewer.  What she does is so much more valuable than most of the expensive productions that hit our local movie screens.

So I guess there are pockets of impressive activities still going on in the world of movies.  And for that I should take heart rather than be depressed.

Douglas, John, “IMAX movies, Morse, renew faith in film, The Grand Rapids Press, Sunday, November 11, 2001 page E8

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